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Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital mourns passing of two employees

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 5:01 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - People entering the doors of Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital Thursday did so with less of a smile, as the hospital lost two important staff members Wednesday.

“This is a really important part of our family, so our hearts are breaking,” says Nancy Howell Agee, Carilion CEO.

Wednesday, the hospital suffered the tremendous loss of Emergency Department Director Mike McKenna and Greeter and Transporter Doug Martin. After working at the hospital nearly 20 years, McKenna will be remembered for his dedication and talent.

“An amazing leader, a fabulous nurse. His passing is particularly hard as well,” says Agee.

Martin only missed work once during his nearly 64 years of service, and that was on the day of his mother’s funeral.

“Doug Martin was larger than life,” Agee remembers. “He was a big man. He had big hands. He could give great hugs. He always wore a white Stetson hat.”

Martin grew roses and often took them in to work to share, and he always remembered the sometimes scary reality some patients faced.

“Doug and I share this affinity for our helicopter service,” she says. “Every time the helicopter came, he would stop what he was doing, and say a prayer, because no matter what, somebody’s life had changed if they were coming here in a helicopter.”

A lifechanging moment, recognized by a lifechanging man.

“He greeted every single person as if they were the most important person in the world. I mean, there’s not a single person that would tell you that they weren’t his special person, because that’s how he made you feel.”

In 2018, when celebrating his 60th anniversary at the hospital, Martin told WDBJ7 retirement was the furthest thing from his mind.

“I keep working because the Lord has blessed me with the ability to do it, he has blessed me well,” he explained. “Secondly, comes my love for people. I love helping people.”

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